NOTE: This would have been the first week of the 2020 UIL playoffs. Since COVID-19 ended this season short of the postseason, is taking a look back at the opening round from last season.

AMARILLO -- Estacado struck for three two-out runs in the 4th inning to break open a pitchers’ duel and Johnny Gomez waded through some late trouble to hold off Perryton as the Matadors claimed a 5-2 victory in the opening game of a best-of-three Class 4A bi-district playoff series on Friday at Randall High School.

Ranger pitcher Riley Dear was inches away from surviving an error and Brandon Loya’s single and logging another scoreless frame after he struck out Justin Rodriquez for the second out. He got ahead of Keanu Maldonado 0-and-2 before the Estacado catcher pumped a single to center field to score two runs. Gomez whacked a double two pitches later to plate Maldonado for the three-run cushion.

The Matador lead swelled to 5-0 in the bottom of the 6th. Rodriquez reached on a one-out error and trotted home when Maldonado capped a huge offensive day by cranking a two-run home run to right field.

Gomez retired 20 of the first 24 batters he faced to cruise through the first 6 innings. Back-to-back singles and an error allowed Perryton to load the bases with no outs in the 7th, but Estacado’s ace got two ground balls – both scoring runs – then struck out Luis Loustaunau to slam the door. That was Gomez’s 7th K with no walks in the complete-game effort.

Game 2 is set for noon at Randall High.


Best-of-three series | Game 1


Perryton   000   000   2   --   2   5   3

Estacado   000   302   x   --   5   5   1

Riley Dear, Garrett Sunday and Keanu Maldonado; Johnny Gomez and Cody Devers. W -- Gomez. L -- Dear. 2B: Perryton -- Garrett Good; Estacado -- Gomez. HR: Estacado -- Maldonado. Records: Perryton 8-12-1, Estacado 17-9-1.

Up next: Best-of-three series Game 2 – Noon Saturday, Randall HS; Game 3 to follow, if necessary.